In physics, magnetism is a natural phenomenon by which certain objects attract others. In politics, where everything is more complex, it is what Donald Trump happens to Vladimir Putin. The president of the United States is fascinated by the Russian leader. He sees it as a “safe value”, has put the “weak” Barack Obama before him and even defended him from the murder charges against opponents. “Do you think our country is so innocent?” He answered in a televised interview.The US president validates the dangerous game of his Russian counterpart by opening a new relationship with him.
This attraction, almost electric, has led him to hold a meeting that had been radically discouraged by his advisers. And it is not that a common agenda is lacking. Syria, North Korea, Ukraine or the same sanctions against Moscow are issues that deserve much more than a meeting. But as the Democratic opposition has warned, and not a few Republicans, there is a previous point that Trump has consciously left unresolved and that poisons everything. The Russian plot.
The president’s refusal to admit openly that Moscow was the cause of the cyber-campaign unleashed against Hillary Clinton affects not only its credibility but also national security itself. Trump, with his rhetorical juggling, is determined to avoid Putin’s intervention, he always lets it fall that “could be another” or, as he did yesterday at the meeting, he merely expresses his concern for the protocol. This reluctance clashes with the findings of the FBI, the CIA and the NSA. All of them have ruled in a joint report that “Putin ordered the campaign against the presidential elections to undermine the public faith in the democratic process” and to avoid the possible presidency of Clinton.
Clearer impossible. Putin interfered. And the beneficiary of the attack, although winning for other reasons, refuses to acknowledge it. On the contrary, from the time he came to power, he looked for a way to lend his hand to the Russian necromancer.
For a president under investigation this is a high risk bet. Putin has nothing to lose and Trump much. For the Russian, the ceasefire agreement in southwestern Syria represents a huge diplomatic success. Having ordered the “largest operation known to date to interfere” in US political life, he shakes hands with his president, sits down with him and, as good friends, fixes the planet’s problems. Putin thus demonstrates that his strategy of harassment of Clinton, despite the scandal, sanctions and investigation of a special prosecutor, was successful.
Trump, on the other hand, is exposed. It is not just that any failure in Syria will play against it, but it increases the suspicion of collusion. Trump has embraced the despotic Russian president and, without reproach, given a letter of nature to an asymmetrical relationship. The magnet has expired.